Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"How do you like your bath?"

"Warm, hot, or boil a lobster?" -Stardust

I LOVE taking baths, but a common problem I would often run into was water temperature. What felt fine to my hand was either too hot or worse, too cold when I took the plunge into that wonderful bath of water. So I discovered a trick to always getting the perfect temperature, draw your bath, while you are sitting in the tub. Yep, fill that bath up with YOU already in it. You can let it run a bit, add your salts, oils, or other ingredients but don't let the tub fill till you are inside. You can adjust the water temperature as your whole body acclimates. If you need to get out to turn off the lights, or start the music, or light a candle, your body temperature will still be acclimated when  you get back in and it won't feel scalding. Though, it's best to do as much ambiance preparation as possible before hand, because if you're anything like me, once your in your bath zone, you're not getting out till you are good and ready!

So, just a little tip today, but one I find wonderfully helpful!

Take a hot bath with bubbles,
forget all your troubles!


Being a military wife, how do I do it?

I remember saying it. So many of us did, in our youth before we knew much about anything, we all knew one thing "I will never marry a military man." 

"How do they do it? Those women who marry a military man? Those men who marry a military woman? With the deployments, and the stress of military life, moving around ALL the time? That must be so hard, they must be so strong. I could never do that."

But then, I saw him. My senior year of highschool, looking cool and calm in our first period class. Stoic. Reserved. Distant. And so undeniably awesome. I mean, the guy just permeated coolness. Not because he was the MOST popular, or the MOST attractive, or the MOST athletic, or the MOST ambitious or the MOST sought after, but because he was just enough of ALL of these things. He belonged to no group because he got along in any group. And he had a secret he kept remarkably well hidden, he was a freaking genius. The first time I saw him I knew he would be my friend. My best friend. My eternal friend. And then, he joined the Navy, and so began my journey as a military girlfriend when I was just 18.

He joined the CASH program and blew all the recruiters away with his perfect test scores and physical stamina. The guy could out run, out pushup, out pull-up outlast everyone at the recruiting center so they started putting him in charge of leading the other guys in workouts. His SAT scores were stellar so they recommended he get involved in the nuclear program. Before we knew it, this amazing kid was getting accepted into the Naval Academy. He was incredible. Handsome, talented, driven, ambitious, adventurous, and absolutely in love with me, ME! And that little vow I'd made all those years ago to never get involved with a military man was a distant memory. And has been, ever since Josh Nickerson put on his first uniform.

We dated long distance the four years he was at the Academy. We saw each other a matter of months out of this time. And people would look at me like I was crazy and say "Wow, a long distance relationship is so hard, how do you do it?" But how do I answer a question like that? It's like they were asking "How do you love him, when he's soooooo far away?" To which my only answer could be, how do I NOT love him, where-ever he is? How did I do it though? Well, I just did, yeah sometimes it was a challenge but here's the thing EVERYTHING involves challenge, everything worth while anyway. Is challenge such a bad thing? No, I think it's wonderful! Challenge makes us grow, challenge beckons us to become something greater, it inspires us, motivates us, moves us in ways nothing else could. We become who we are meant to be only when we answer the call of a challenge. And then, comes the pride of success. The day Josh graduated from the Naval Academy and we could finally get married was incredible. Not just because of the long distance chasm our love had crossed, but because of HIS incredible accomplishment, that I had the opportunity of supporting him in! I was SO proud of him!

Fast forward five years of marriage and one preschooler later, and when people find out I'm a submariner wife they respond very much the same way they did when they heard I was in a long distance relationship "Oh wow, how hard, I don't know how you do it! Months without your husband? How late does he work? Oh my gosh, how do you do that?" But in my heart it all translates down to that same strange question, it's as if they are asking me again "How do you love him? With the absences, the moving around and tremendous demands of such a job?" And my mind just reels at the question in absolute amazement you might as well ask me "How do you breathe? Every single second, millions of times over a lifetime, over and over again, HOW do you breathe?" To which I would simply respond, how could I NOT breathe and live to answer that question? 

How do I not love this man, and be me? How do I do it? How do I do being a military wife? How do I not? How could I be anything else? This is apart of our life, so I just do it, sometimes I cry, sometimes I laugh, sometimes I think I'll go crazy, sometimes I hate it, sometimes (most of the time) I'm grateful for it! It's a wonderful challenge that grows our relationship in ways many people will never experience in their lifetime! It has given Josh tremendous education and experience without debt. It has provided for our family. And it has given us the wonderful blessing of giving something back to this beloved country. To make our own small sacrifices,  for the continued blessing and insurance of freedom. I'm proud of who I am during each patrol as I support my husband! And even more so, I am proud of my husband's work. I am proud of my sailor. 

It is easy to look around and wonder how people do what they do. It's wonderful to admire the strength in others, it inspires us. I have a beloved friend who inspires me like this, her son suffers from severe epilepsy, and I pray for her and cry for her, and long for the healing of that beautiful little boy of hers and I find myself asking her "How do you do it?" And she says that she just does. Because how could she not do what she does, she loves her son and that loves raises her to whatever challenge his health brings. 

There are women who say goodbye to their husbands for an entire year, sending them off to places of the world much more dangerous than being hidden in the middle of an ocean somewhere, and I wonder, how do they do it? But they do it, they do it because love lifts them up to meet the demands of life, when they are without their husband for so long.

I look around and see women so much stronger than me, doing things that I see as so much harder and so much more demanding, and I wonder how they do it, but they do. And I think I know how they do it. They do it the same way I do, one moment at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time, because they love the person they are making a sacrifice for, more than the sacrifice itself.

Love carries us through the challenges of life and brings us to a better, stronger, more understanding version of ourselves. And love, is the work of God.

God bless each of us in our own challenges. Whatever path you are on, whatever insurmountable task lays before your feet, may you let the love of God, of those you walk for, and walk with, carry you through the darkest challenge you face and lead you to all you'll become because you got through it. One moment at a time, one step after another, because there is no other way. 

How do I do it? I love him. 
That, is how I do it.

-Domestic Diva

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sock Cupcakes

Need a fun and unique gift idea, that is inexpensive? Try making a sock cupcake! They are quick and  easy to make, and SO much fun!

You will need the following materials:

One pair of fuzzy socks, (I bought mine at Walmart, they came in a pack of two for $1.97)
rubber bands
glue gun
One 12x12 piece of scrapbooking paper
1 straight pin
scissors or paper trimmer
Paper crimper (optional)
ribbons, flowers, pom poms, candle or a leaf for decorating the top.


To begin, simply lay out your socks one staggered slightly over the other.

Now, roll the socks into a roll, begin at the toes, and try to keep the stagger, working from the toe up to the top of the sock. The stagger creates an extra layer of "icing" the toe of the sock is going to be the heap of icing at the top of the cupcake so this is the part that needs to look pretty.

Continue rolling till you get to the end. Then secure with a rubber band. Keep the bottom (the top of the sock) the tightest, and give the toe a little more give. You can squish and mold the sock to look perfect later on.

I like to use at least two rubber bands.

The tighter you can keep the base, the better. Having a smaller base, and fuller icing gives the proportion a more romanticized feel. 

Now, cut a 2 inch strip of paper from off your 12x12 sheet. I have found most tutorials recommend a 4 inch strip, but 2 inches allows for a more classic, romanticized looking cupcake. It's all about proportion. If you want you can run the paper through a crimper, to really give it the cupcake feel!

I found my paper crimper at Joanne's for 20 dollars, I splurged since I planned to make a cupcake for all my friend's birthday gifts this year, and I made a big batch to sell at a local gift shop. But this is certainly a preference, not a necessity.

Now, roll the paper around the base of the cupcake and tape at the seam. This is your adorable cupcake liner! If you want you can cut the excess paper off, or just roll it all around, but you want it tight. The base needs to be smaller than the top. I keep stressing this, because like all good design, proportion is so IMPORTANT or it just looks "off" and you don't know why. 

Note, as you can see, this cupcake needs a little tucking, once your paper is secure, tuck whatever sock might be spilling out the bottom, and smoosh the top to shape it with the cup of your hand to round it out a bit. Tuck in little corners, or unroll a little as you need to, in order to make it look more like a fluffy frosting.

Okay, now that you have your cupcake all tucked into the perfect shape, you get to do the fun part! Decorating! There are so many ways to top a cupcake, I really suggest you just sift through your craft stash and pick out a few of those odds and ends to throw together and turn into a topper. Here are a few of the ideas I came up with from some things I had on hand.

You can just browse through the pictures if you want, or read through my little "how to's" for toppers but remember, this TRICK- glue a pin to the bottom of your topper to stick on the top of the cupcake, that way you don't have to tape, or glue or ruin the sock. Okay, so here we go, a few pictures of my favorite toppings!!!!



SPRINKLES! (I used fake snow for decorating little Christmas villages, displays, or window sills!)

This one, I topped with rhinestones and placed the flower on the base of the cupcake with ribbon. It was my first cupcake however, and the proportions were still in the works so this has a 4 inch liner, and I really prefer the 2 inch, but you can experiment and find what works best for you!

Now, for some topper ideas and instructions!

layer a few flowers together, with a drop of hot glue between each flower. I like to buy flowers on sale at Michaels and pull them apart then mix and match different hues to create greater visual interest.

I used a rose petal as a back drop to the piece here. Just add a drop of glue to attach.

Next, I added a candle and a leaf.

Then comes the rosette-oh this is so fun! And SO cute! I love making these, writing this tutorial makes me want to go make more of these!

Finally, glue the straight pin at the bottom of the entire piece, note that if you want to include ribbons, curly or fabric it works best to glue this to the underside of the flower piece as well, I add it before the straight pin.

While I LOVE the flower toppers, nothing say "cucake" like a cherry on top! For this, all you need are your flowers a leaf and a red pom pom.

Here I layered a rose petal and white flower, then layered the pom pom on top. Don't forget the leaf! That pop of green just makes it perfect!

WARNING! Once you get the hang of making these, it's very hard to stop....

Have fun!


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